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Essential Nonprofit Financial Governance – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

We will cover 15 commonly asked questions and mis-perceptions of financial governance. Please provide this to your board and especially new board members and leaders to help educate them on the roles and responsibilities on Nonprofit Leadership and Governance. Please register for our November forum to review this topic in more detail and invite your board treasurer, finance committee, and leaders.

  1. How many board members should we have?  At least 5-9 members which are unrelated to each other.
  2. What should be discussed during a board orientation? Mission, organization chart, bylaws, audit and form 990, responsibilities and expectations including fundraising, and frequency of board and committee meetings.
  3. Are there best practices for planning and conducting meetings?  Draft agenda in advance and be strategic and focus attention on priorities.  A consent agenda can be a good tool to move through routine procedures and information that can be provided prior to the meeting.
  4. Do I have to have an audit or finance committee?  Organization’s benefit from a finance committee and may benefit from an independent audit committee.  It is important to have the right financial experts to move you in right direction.
  5. Do I have to have accounting or finance experience to serve on a board?   A successful board is generally made up of diverse individuals who are focused on furthering the mission of the organization.  Board members may need training to fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities.   It might be best for these board members to not serve on the finance or audit committee however.
  6. Are Not-for-Profits supposed to have term limits?  Term limits seem to be a good idea yet make sure you have a staggered term process to support continuity and prevent large turnover of board members.  It might be import to change the responsibilities of long-term board members to keep them engaged and refresh their duties.
  7. Is it common for board members to have fundraising expectations?  Asking board members is very common and especially expected if donations is a major revenue source.  It is always a good idea to know the fundraising expectations and make sure you are comfortable with the commitment.
  8. What is a conflict of interest?  a conflict of interest arises with a board member has a transaction with the organization.  Transactions should be discussed and possible disclosed before they take place.  A robust conflict of interest policy covering the financial and non financial conflicts is a means to establish procedures that will offer protection against charges of impropriety involving officers or directors.
  9. Are not-for-profits required to have an annual audit?  It depends on many triggers that may cause or require an audit.  Receiving federal or state funds over certain thresholds can trigger audit requirements.  Some foundation grants may have audit requirements as well.    Some organization’s may choose to have an audit even when not required to demonstrate good financial stewardship and transparency.
  10. What alternatives exist to an annual audit?  A review typically costs 50-60% of an annual audit.   A compilation is another option but does not provide a basis for obtaining or providing assurance regarding the financial statements.
  11. What should board members know about the Form 990?  It is a public document and should be reviewed by the board before it is filed with the Internal Revenue Service.  Board members should fully understand and verify the information on the Form 990, and should feel comfortable asking questions until they are satisfied.
  12. Am I required to post my financial information on my website?  There is no federal requirement to provide your financial information on your website.  The IRS requires you to make your Form 990 publicly available.    In the interest of transparency, it is considered a good industry practice to post the IRS Form 990 and the annual financial statements.  The annual financial statements might be the audited financial statements and/or the annual report.
  13. Should we have an operating reserve?  An operating reserve is a valuable tool to manage changes to the finances.  By building and maintaining an operating reserve, an organization can better manage its cash flow on a day-to-day basis.
  14. How long do I keep my financial records?  There is no easy answer for this as many laws are state specific and federal government grants may have specific requirements for document retention.  A formal document retention and destruction policy is considered an important best practice.
  15. Are not-for-profits allowed to make a profit?  They should and a modest surplus maybe a good goal as well.  This will allow the organization to build up reserves and helps to contribute to long-term financial sustainability.    The term not-for-profit comes from the fact that the organization exists to benefit the public and has no owners.

Please be advised that this is only an introduction to financial governance and does not address all the areas that an organization should be concerned with.  We would be glad to assist your organization with training and make sure you meet the requirements of financial governance and leadership.

What is the best way to segregate financial duties in a small to medium sized Nonprofit?

Small to medium sized NPF’s struggle with segregating financial duties. Volunteers and Outside experts may play key roles in ensuring the proper segregation of duties. The best course is to segregrate duties to minimize risks and prevent fraud. The following reference charts are available for organizations with two, three, or four employees involved in the outsource function. If you only have one employee, we would recommend including our firm or another outside expert or volunteer to help with segregation of duties.

The following reference charts are provided to provide examples of segregation of duties.  Please contact us before you implement any of these suggestions.

Sample Organization with two employees

Sample Organization with three employees

Sample Organization with four employees

This would allow be good time to evaluate your financial department including updating your financial policies and procedures manual for the finance departments responsibilities.

2018 Central Indiana Nonprofit Salary Survey is Available

2018 Central Indiana Nonprofit Salary Survey is Available

By Jim Simpson, CPA and director, Financial Technologies & Management

It is becoming more difficult to attract and retain talent.  Also, it is important to review your salaries and benefits compensation compared to the market.  It is becoming clear that long term-sustainability and staff retention with competitive wages are linked.  We have provided this resource through our free white paper so please feel free to download this resource.

We hope this resource will help to provide nonprofit leaders from all service sectors and sizes to explore compensation and benefits for over 25 typical positions with the ultimate goal or attracting and retaining the talent to achieve your organization missions.

We serve quite a few clients outside this service area so we thought we would share it to all as the sample size is almost twice the typical sample size and is provided at no charge by Charitable Advisors and their sponsors which we have been in the past.

We invite you to download ‘2018 Central Indiana Nonprofit Salary Survey

Financial Technologies Management LLC (FTM) has been serving the accounting services and technology needs of nonprofits since 1999. Our exclusive focus on nonprofit organizations means we have the experience and proven track record to guide you to the best combination of accounting resources to provide the optimal capacity, utmost stewardship and ability to fulfill your mission.

Abila MIP Fund Accounting and Abila MIP Advance Version 2019. 1 Available and Current MIP Promotions includes FREE Payroll and/or HR

What’s New in Abila MIP Fund Accounting Version 2019.1

Tax Enhancements Completed:

  • New Jersey Tax Updates
  • Maryland Tax Updates
  • Illinois Tax Updates
  • MIP: Aatrix – Add Oregon State Transit Tax code #5666 to Maintain Other Taxes

Reporting Enhancements Completed:

  • MIP: Financial Statements – Includes an option to add the Unposted Transactions to the Balance Sheet and Statement of Financial Position reports to allow more flexibility and understanding of current financial state.

Security Enhancements Completed:

  • MIP: Attachments – Enhances the attachment encryption process when encrypting documents using a new, modern algorithm.
  • MIP: Added a reminder message to both Forms Designer forms when the Insert Picture (related to signatures) is selected and both ACH forms.

Administration Enhancements Completed:

  • MIP: Data Integrity Checks – The Organization Name has been added to the results message for clarification.

Payroll Enhancements Completed:

  • MIP: Employee Information – A change was made to the employee page where the Social Security Number is entered.  If not entered at this time, a warning message will be displayed but the user can continue onwards, in order to match the functionality in the HR module for increased usability.
  • MIP: Payroll – The Timesheet Reference field now flows through several parts of the application to allow tracking and reporting on large numbers of employees.  It will flow through the calculation and history processes, as well as thru the processing and historical reports. Additionally, in Forms Designer, “Add Timesheet Reference” will be made available as a Data field.
  • Changes made to address new payroll requirements in Arizona
    • MIP: Set Up Modules – Payroll – Added checkbox ‘Include Historical Pay Code Information on Stubs’ and changed Print Checks/Vouchers and Reprint Stubs to enable display of changes made for the AZ tax code payroll changes.

Resolved Issues

With the 2019.1 release, we resolved 18 outstanding defects, including three HR defects. Defects

included in DLL releases from 2018.1 to 2019.1 are also included in this list.

FA‐20024 An ARS session allows duplicate document numbers to be created. For those document numbers that are used twice in one session, AR reporting doubles the amounts on the report output

FA‐21915 Aatrix: Info in AUF not Sorted or Grouped Properly

FA‐22185 The posting process taking an excessive amount of time

FA‐22929 MIP Closes when attempting to export report to XLS using the Red Door

FA‐23145 Changing one Employee in Review/Modify for a Supplemental Payroll triggers all employees to be recorded in the Summary Organization Audit with no associated user ID

FA‐23149 Appending or Prepending to an Excel Worksheet Removes Decimals That End in 0

FA‐23201 After exporting a report to Excel, formulas create #VALUE!

FA‐23262 Hourly Rate Change on Salaried Employees Does Not Save

FA‐23281 Append to Excel files with file type XLSM Fails (macros)

FA‐23316 HR: ‘dg2_initializeLayout’ error when adding Certificates in HR 2 14 of the defects on this list were from the prioritized Support Top 25 defects list.

FA‐23320 Rename Employee is Creating New Employees Instead of Renaming

FA‐23339 HR: Payroll Check printing rather than voucher

FA‐23343 HR: Misspelling in Ethnic Drop‐Down Options

FA‐23376 Some Report Types Printed from Excel Exported from MIP are Improperly Formatted

FA‐23395 Electronic Funds files have wrong Object Count when filler rows not included on a Data File ending in a perfect 10 count

FA‐23437 Reprint Pay Stub subtracts Workers Comp from Net Pay

FA‐23445 Reprint Pay stubs Produces Incorrect YTD Earnings for Local Taxes

FA‐23605 After applying the DLL to fix FA‐23281, Running the Bank Rec report to screen causes MIP to close. It also replaces the ‘from’ field

with the name of the database rather than the email address of the user attempting to email a report.

Abila MIP Advance™

The focal point of the 2019.1 release was the debut of the MIP Advance™ Reporting module.  Extensive refinement to the UI along with the introduction of 57 previously unreleased reports are the highlight of the features included here. See below for more detailed information.

Reporting

New Reports ‐ Inclusion of 57 new reports to the Advance user interface. A list of report

categories and sub‐categories is included below.

 Aged Payables, Detail A/P Ledger, Invoices Selected for Payment, Summary A/P Ledger, Vendor 1099 Adjustments List, Vendor Activity, Vendor Information List

 Aged Receivables, Customer Activity, Customer Information List, Detailed A/R Ledger, Summary A/R Ledger

 Bank Reconciliation – Checks/Vouchers, Combined Reconciliation, Deposits, Other Cash Items, Suspense Items

 Budget – Budget Worksheet, Detail Budget/Actual Transactions, Posted Budget Transactions, Summary Budget Comparison, Unposted Budget Transactions

 Check/Voucher Register

 Financial Statement – Balance Sheet, Combining Balance Sheet, Statement of Cash Flows, Combining Statement of R&E, Statement of Activities, Statement of Cash Flows, Statement of Financial Position, Statement of R&E, Statement of Revenues and Expenditures by Period

 General Ledger Analysis – Comparative Trial Balance, Expanded GL, Normal Trial Balance, Standard GL, Working Trial Balance

 Journals – Cash Journal, Expenditure Journal, Revenue Journal

 Lists – Account Code Combinations, Attachments, Chart of Accounts, Closing Account Assignments, Distribution Codes, Email Templates, Financial Statement Format, Group Information, Offset Account Assignments, Report Group Assignments, Security, UDF Default Sources, User Defined Fields, User Information List

 Transactions – Memorize/Recurring Transactions, Unposted GL Transactions, Posted GL Transactions

Current MIP Promotions:
Prospect Promotion:
Free Payroll, HR, or both for 1 year: On Premise only pays M&S after year one; Subcription gets 12 months free
Client Promotion: Migrate to Advance for on-premise clients with 3 months free with 15 month contract; Free Module with Renewal for 12 months and choose from select modules; Renewal Amnesty for clients 6 months overdue may pay only a 50% catch up fee.

Why your Nonprofit should consider using Nonprofit Accounting Software?

Why your Nonprofit should consider using Nonprofit Accounting Software?

By Jim Simpson, CPA and director, Financial Technologies & Management

Your organization like every other nonprofit is feeling the pressure to deliver more transparency. The demand for more timely information is coming from a multitude of interested parties: board members, major donors, potential funders, and watch dog organizations.

The goal of transparency can’t be easily accomplished without sound nonprofit accounting software-financial reporting is the foundation upon which transparency is achieved.

As the number of nonprofits have proliferated, accounting software is more tailored and can help manage these complexities. But taking the time to select the right software for your nonprofit is critical.

Before your purchase, start with a software evaluation and assessment to see if you’re a good candidate for nonprofit accounting software. The software evaluation and assessment will review your current system to determine its level or utilization and functionality. It is probably a good idea to perform a software evaluation any time there is a major change within the organization either positive or negative.

Here are eight reasons Nonprofit’s should consider Nonprofit Accounting Software.

  1. Flexible report writer
  2. Grants Management capability
  3. Budget Management capability
  4. Cost-allocation functionality
  5. Strong audit trails
  6. Integration with payroll, fundraising, and other applications
  7. Expanded capabilities as organization grows
  8. Various financial segment or element tracking to include funding sources, programs, projects, locations, and other essential financial information.

Here are features and functionality of the software that can provide optimum efficiency.

The flexible report writer allows you to use the accounting software to meet the internal and external complex reporting requirements. Generating reports should be able to be varied to meet the board, program, and funder reporting requirements and easily modified to meet the changing program and funder needs. Accounting Solutions for your Nonprofit

The grants management capability allows you to track the financial results for each grant, and report back to the funder in the required format, using one accounting system.  Grants management helps to insure maximum reimbursement and reconciliation to claims including encumbrances.

The budget management capability allows you to manage multiple budget versions for board approved version and projections.  Easily make budget revisions and maintain budget trail to track various revisions.   Budget management allows you to distribute annual budget monthly, quarterly, or annually.

Cost-allocation functionality allows you to easily allocate transactions on a real-time basis to multiple programs and funding sources all within the system. It should allow to you to pool various cost pools like facilities and overhead and allocate these to the various program and funding sources to provide a full-cost accounting.  Allows the cost allocation basis like hours worked to be modified on a regular basis for more accurate funding source and program accounting.

Strong audit trails keep track of what users are doing within the accounting system. The system should allow you to provide your annual auditors and program monitors with the financial information they need to meet their requirements and reduce the chances of fraud. Those involved in the finance function should have segregated permissions in the accounting system to protect the organization and its staff.  Strong audit controls include the ability for management to produce the audited financial statements.

As organizations look to be more efficient, it is important they look at software that allows them to integrate their critical functions like payroll, fundraising, human resources, and other areas. Nonprofit accounting software typically has this functionality built into its various modules or it allows for third party product integration. It is typically modular based, which allows your organization to add functions and capabilities as the organization grows and needs additional tools.

One of the most important reasons to look into nonprofit accounting software is the ability track financial information different ways.

For example, an organization may want to track its various funding sources to see what funds are available. It may want to track my various programs and projects to see what the programs costs are and how the organization is doing financially. It might have various locations and want to know how each location is doing. It might have donor and endowments restricted assets and wants to do a separate accounting for these donations to know what assets are left and make sure donor restrictions are met.

It is important, too, that staff remains efficient and effective, enabling them to focus on the long-term planning of the organization and not just keeping up with the day-to-day-accounting.

There are several purchase options that include direct purchase or subscription pricing to pay-as-you-go.

You will need to insure that you include software advisory services to include planning, implementing, and training. In some cases, you will need to also include data conversion and integration services.

Please contact us to help you determine if your organization will benefit from Nonprofit Accounting Software.  We will help you with your software evaluation and assessment project.

Assess Your Organization’s Vulnerability to Fraud

It’s a people problem, so combat it with governance.   

Purchasing schemes, cash skimming, and financial statement fraud are three very different types of fraud that nonprofits must prevent, detect, and insure against. Still, behind each of them – and every variety of deliberate, deceptive act against nonprofits – there’s a fundamental and shared dynamic at play.

Fraud isn’t just an operational or financial risk. It’s inherently a human risk, meaning it often crosscuts numerous functions and departments within a nonprofit organization. Not only that, but the people behind these acts are complex. They’re pressured by varying circumstances, motivated by different opportunities, and self-assured by their own unique rationales. Making matters more complicated, fraud isn’t always a solo act. In fact, a report by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) found that 46% of fraud cases involve multiple perpetrators. When fraud occurs, the web of nefarious activity often extends to surprising depths within an organization.

To combat this threat, nonprofits face a critical need to address fraud, starting with more guidance and engagement from leaders and boards to create an anti-fraud environment and oversee a fraud risk management function. One of the most important deterrents of fraud is knowing that the organization’s leaders have no tolerance for it, will act accordingly to detect it, and will take appropriate action if they find it. Begin by focusing on these four steps:

1. Find a Catalyst

You need a high-ranking sponsor to get fraud risk management off the ground. This leader’s first order of business should be deciding whether the organization’s fraud risk management will be integrated into the existing risk management function (which typically focuses on strategic, operational, reporting, and compliance risks) – or whether it will be separate. Either way, the goal is the same: Embed a risk management element into the daily activities of all your personnel.

2. Create Responsibilities & Structures

With your management process in place, establish a governance structure for it, including designated oversight responsibilities at the board level, such as an audit committee. Keep in mind, this framework and the tools your organization uses should be scaled to fit both your size and your available resources. It’s impossible to completely “fraud-proof” any organization, so understand the weak points in your infrastructure and organization, and then work backwards to execute your anti-fraud processes. Also, while fraud prevention is ideal, many nonprofits have to weigh the costs and practicality of preventive processes versus detective measures.

3. Engage & Educate

Especially when faced with resource constraints, nonprofits should engage all their staff in an ongoing system of fraud deterrence. Above all, provide your employees with workshops and trainings in which you educate them on why people perpetrate fraud, which red f lags to watch for, and what resources – such as whistleblower policies, reporting systems, and hotlines – are available to them. Awareness throughout your organization can be the single most effective fraud deterrent and vehicle for detection, but it has to start from the top.

4. Craft Dynamic Risk Assessments

People are dynamic, so your risk assessments must keep pace. With roles and responsibilities identified, use your team to pinpoint which inherent risks exist. Then prioritize these risky situations based on their impact, likelihood, and the speed at which they’re apt to occur. Finally, use those priority rankings to map the best preventive and detective controls.

Source: “Assess Your Organization’s Vulnerability to Fraud”. Nonprofit World. October/November/December 2017. Vol. 35, No. 4: 20 – 21. Print.

Effective Grants Management

In order to provide effective grants management, we need to make sure that we are performing bookkeeping at the grant level.  Our grant accounting needs to properly allocate costs to the grants while maximizing our grant reimbursement and avoiding any cost disallowance.

Our board members and related governance should be knowledgeable and informed about grant budgets and compliance requirements.  The board should stay knowledgeable of grant administration trends, developments, and regulations.  The board should understand what the organization is committed to and are Its programs delivering what is required.

The program staff needs to be involved in the data collection and reporting responsibilities including the proper reporting to the correct grant budget categories.  We need to establish and schedule future grant deadlines to insure timely grant report submission.  We would suggest sharing the grant agreement with the program staff to insure all grant requirements and deadlines are met.

Federal grants are governed by the super circular which is also referred to as the uniform grant guidance.   Auditors audit based on these requirements with the assumption that the nonprofit is knowledgeable and informed about this grant guidance.  Federal grants and awards are specifically identified and require a financial management system that identifies the source and application of federal funded activities.  Federal grants typically require written procedures around payment requirements, allowability of costs, procurement procedures, and standards of conduct.  For example, procurement procedures need to be written with good procurement records and follow the guidelines.

The grant audit requirements include the ability for management to prepare the Schedule of Federal Awards (SEFA) and it should be reconciled to the accounting records.  If the SEFA is a required part of the audited financial statements, the auditor will issue an opinion if the SEFA is fairly stated as a part of the audited financial statements.

Cost allocations are an integral part of effective grants management.  Effective cost allocations will allow to report and recover the fully loaded program costs to facilities and administrative costs.  Some organizations could benefit from documenting their cost allocation and federal programs may require a formal cost allocation plan.  Some acceptable methods of cost allocation would include hours worked for variable costs, and square footage for fixed costs like facilities.

Grant advance would be for grants that provide advanced funding.  It is important that you don’t spend these restricted funds on other activities and you can keep track of restricted expenditures and restricted grant cash balance.  You may want to track these advances by grant and as deferred revenue to show how much of the cash or accounts receivable balance is restricted.

Cost reimbursement for grants require you to submit reimbursement request timely to minimize cash flow delays.   Your grantors typically believe you have already paid these costs when you submit your reimbursement request.  You may want to obtain a line of credit for reimbursement delays and disclose the possible longer payment terms with your contractors and vendors.

The grant reporting needs include grant budgets which match grant budget line items with financial reporting.  Grant reporting should be able to report total grant spending including direct and indirect cost allocation.   Proper grant reporting requires a grant reconciliation to insure internal and external reports agree and that you are maximizing the reimbursement along with minimizing over and under grant spending.

Grant close out requires you met the compliance requirements and make any final grant budget revisions.  You will want to make sure you make any budget revisions in a timely manner to make sure you have time for any grant budget revision approval that is required.

Your accounting system should be able to meet your grantor reporting needs including their budget line items.   This typically requires segment tracking to track your grant as a separate fund including tracking by program.

Some examples of lack of effective grants management would include grant findings, monitoring visits, spending issues, and lack of a grant budget and related projections.

It is important that you continue to strive for effective grants management within your organization.  Our firm is here to help your organization perform more effective grants management so please let us know if we can be of assistance.

Overlooked Benefits of Outsourcing Nonprofit Accounting

Overlooked Benefits of Outsourcing Nonprofit Accounting

By Jim Simpson, CPA and director, Financial Technologies & Management

In the nonprofit community, outsourcing typically means long-term delegation of key operation to outside experts. The accompanying expectation is improvement of the quality, strengthening effectiveness, and lowering or controlling costs.

A key difference in the nonprofit sector is not only controlling costs, but becoming a more effective organization. Finance and accounting departments are two essential back-office areas in nonprofit organizations.  Nonprofits typically outsource accounting already for payroll processing and audit services so it is not surprising that nonprofits are looking at other aspects of the the finance and accounting department to outsource.

With limited resources, a nonprofit can outsource some or all its financial functions, which can help a nonprofit efficiently staff and conduct its financial operations. It also respects the board and executives limited time or expertise to manage the finance functions, and allow more allocation of resources toward mission and program outcomes.

Here are eight overlooked, and sometimes unknown, benefits of outsourcing nonprofit accounting.

  1. Improved efficiencies. The less time internal staff members spend on duties that can be outsourced, the more time they can focus on mission and program outcomes. Typically, outsourcing also results in more timely and accurate financial information, which leads to a better operating organization. One way to assess this is to review how much time is currently spent weekly on accounting and finance to determine where this time could be better utilized with a better functioning finance department.  Bookkeeping and Accounting is time-consuming especially when dealing with multiple responsibilities like human resources, information technology, facilities, and other back office responsibilities.  An outsourced accountant allows your organization to focus on getting all of the back office function completed and work with program staff.
  2. Reduce costs. The organization can save money by outsourcing the finance functions that are not core to its mission. It is not uncommon for an organization to save 20 to 40 percent in total personnel costs and control these costs.  On-staff accountants often have to perform administrative tasks that could be performed by lower level paid staff.  By purchasing services and expertise for time needed by your organization, you can better afford the multiple staff levels an organization needs that includes bookkeeping, accounting, controller, and CFO service levels.  An additional cost saving is that services can be provided off-site, which can save facility costs and overhead-related expenses. Outsourcing can be used for major finance projects including the annual audit, budget preparation, software implementation, and other projects that drain internal staff’s time and energy. There are many intangible benefits to include timely and accurate financial reports, eliminated frustrations related to staff management and turnover, and saving management’s valuable time. If your accounting staff leaves for another job, the knowledge and expertise leaves the organization, as well, and is typically costly and difficult to replace.
  3. Reduce fraud threat. Segregating accounting duties between internal and external staff inherently reduces fraud risks. Outsourced accounting provides the organization with checks and balances along the proper oversight to prevent fraud. Many nonprofits rely exclusively on external auditors to detect fraud but these are not intended to detect fraud and only detect fraud it 3 percent of the time. The increased segregation of duties strengthens your internal controls and procedures, while providing increased transparency and accountability in the overall financial operations.  The Executive Director doesn’t typically have the time, desire, and expertise to manage the accounting function so using an outside expert maybe the best way to properly manage the accounting and finance function.  Most nonprofits only have one internal accounting staff that does all the accounting including all cash receipts, cash disbursements, and reconciling the bank accounts which increases your risks of fraud.  Outsourced accounting provides you with the checks and balances, as well as the oversight that you need to prevent fraud.
  4. Higher level of expertise. Many nonprofits can’t afford to employ a staff member who has controller and CFO skill sets and can perform the day-to-day bookkeeping and accounting needs for an organization. By outsourcing, you can take advantage of an expert team’s significant financial expertise, while staying current on the latest regulations and laws. Best practices and improved efficiency can result from the implementation and improve your accounting and reporting functions. The higher-level expertise provides a strategic and fresh perspective to identify deficiencies and add capacity to enable bookkeeping and accounting staff to complete day-to-day activities.  Outsourced accountant likely has a number of individuals they can consult to provide them with the knowledge and expertise they need to benefit the nonprofit they are serving.
  5. Ability to scale. A nonprofit organization needs the flexibility to increase or decrease the size of its finance department, a difficult task when you have allocated internal staff to the finance function. With outsourcing, you can scale your service level up or down to meet your current situation and needs. You can outsource certain finance functions or the entire accounting function. Outsourcing can be performed on-site or off-site, which also provides flexibility to the organization.
  6. Accounting software expertise. It is unlikely that the internal staff will be able to stay current and fully utilize the updated accounting software. Normally, an organization is faced with staff turnover and no training budget. It is likely that the internal staff has never experienced a new software implementation and is relying on how previous internal staff utilized the accounting software. Furthermore, internal processes and systems don’t change to accommodate new software features and enhancements so software utilization doesn’t improve.  An outsourced accountant with technology expertise will likely be current with technology from having multiple clients experiences and the necessity to be as efficient as possible.
  7. Better manage your finance and accounting function.  What type of information are your currently receiving from your accounting department?  Is it real time financial information and is it timely and accurate?  Does it help you with financial planning and decision making including managing cash flow and planning for budgeting and financial projections?  An outsourced accountant can help you better manage your finance and accounting function and help your organization get to the more important financial areas.   It will also provide better financial accountability and transparency for the organization.
  8. Stay current with regulations and laws.  Most organizations don’t have time to stay up with the constantly changing regulations, new accounting standards, Internal Revenue Service, and other oversight organizations.  An outsourced accountant will likely be current with these changes and will adjust service levels to meet the latest requirements.

Outsourcing accounting provides nonprofit organizations with a team of experts who have multiple client experiences which benefits its clients and the nonprofit organization’s it serves.

When considering outsourcing any accounting function, make sure you work with several staff including a manager or partner who’ll become familiar with your organization.  This will help with the continuation of services and provide additional resources and expertise to the board, finance committee, investment committee, treasurer, and Executive Director.

Having the right team in place allow you to focus more resources on your mission and related program outcomes while having a better functioning finance function. It is important that you have the right expertise with an outsourcing firm that you trust and enjoy working together so that a long-term relationship can develop. Keep in mind the organization will still be making the financial decisions, but should be able to make better decisions with the financial advisor performing the role and making recommendations to assist with the organization’s decision-making. Look for a firm that will tailor to clients’ needs and become an extension of the organization’s team regardless of the service levels.

Common Audit Pitfalls and Misperceptions

Common Audit Pitfalls and Misperceptions – FTM Nonprofit Forum for September 26, 2018

Nonprofit Forum Agenda for September 26, 2018

11:30 to 12:30-Financial Management Topic
Common Audit Pitfalls and Misperceptions

Click here to register

While not required by law, one reason a nonprofit might conduct an audit is to demonstrate the organization’s commitment to financial transparency and accountability.

And while a nonprofit can spend considerable resources for its annual audit, it is important that it consider the following to ensure the audit is a success:

  • No delays: An audit needs to avoid any major delays.
  • Minimal accrual and year-end adjustments: The nonprofit needs to ensure that all accrual and year-end adjustments are completed prior to the start of the audit.
  • Minor board and management comments: It is a good idea to have an exit interview after the fieldwork to review the audit’s results.
  • No material weakness or significant deficiency: This is a deficiency in internal controls that could negatively impact financial integrity.
  • Nonprofit should prepare audited financial statements and related disclosures: The organization should have the ability and accounting systems to prepare the audited financial statements and related footnotes and disclosures.
  • Fraud detection is not purpose of audit: While nonprofit leaders may believe the annual audit will uncover fraud, it is very unlikely this will occur.
  • Auditor does not guarantee financial statement accuracy: While auditor does issue an opinion on the nonprofit’s financial statements, the auditor does not certify or guarantee its accuracy.
  • If your nonprofit has one of these audit pitfalls or misperceptions, you should take action to bring expertise and capacity to your organization to remedy it.

This webinar will help Executive Directors, Finance Directors, and finance staff to develop and use a financial policies and procedures manual. Savvy nonprofit leaders know that effective financial audits can be the difference between good and great performance.

Those attending the forum will receive handouts.

Click here to register

Are You In Need of a True Fund Accounting Solution for Your Nonprofit Organization?

Are You In Need of a True Fund Accounting Solution for Your Nonprofit Organization?

Are You In Need of a True Fund Accounting Solution for Your Nonprofit Organization? Yes, No, or I Don’t Know?

We’ve got a quick survey that you can take:

Y N Don’t know – Do I have specific restrictions that I must apply to funds?

Y N Don’t know – Can I easily measure the performance of a program or activity?

Y N Don’t know – Am I able to create reports for varying fiscal years?

Y N Don’t know – Do I have funds that need to be recorded as encumbered?

Y N Don’t know – Can I perform allocations of indirect costs by grantors?

Y N Don’t know – Can I easily tailor reports for each funding source?

Y N Don’t know – Does my current solution incorporate nonprofit-specific accounting rules?

Y N Don’t know – Can I easily manage and report on multiple budgets?

Y N Don’t know – Can I easily show how money is tracked or budgeted?

Y N Don’t know – Does my current solution integrate with other software?

Are You In Need of a True Fund Accounting Solution for Your Nonprofit Organization?

If you answered “Yes” to all these questions, congratulations! You are in very good nonprofit accounting technology shape. If you answered “No” to any of these questions, it may be time to contact FTM for a free consultation.

We invite you to download the article ’10 Reasons Why Nonprofits Need True Fund Accounting

Financial Technologies Management LLC (FTM) has been serving the accounting services and technology needs of nonprofits since 1999. Our exclusive focus on nonprofit organizations means we have the experience and proven track record to guide you to the best combination of accounting resources to provide the optimal capacity, utmost stewardship and ability to fulfill your mission.

Are You In Need of a True Fund Accounting Solution for Your Nonprofit Organization?

Need accounting help but unable to find and hire candidates with the appropriate skills? Contact FTM. Many Executive Directors have discovered that outsourcing their accounting to FTM is affordable and immediately connects them with an expert accounting team to manage activities and provide insight. Many have found that this is the perfect solution when there’s not enough budget nor need for a fully staffed in-house accounting department.

Do you have a fully staffed accounting department but need better reporting and integration with other mission-critical solutions in use within the organization? FTM works with all leading nonprofit accounting software solutions and can guide you to the solution with the perfect fit. We’ll be your resource from evaluation to selection to implementation to support and training.